Work In Progress


Do you think it excessive to paint nine coats on one wall? The initial four coats were painted by my decorator: the first two coats on the white plaster, in high sheen Intelligent Eggshell, clashed with the deep hue of Thai Sapphire; the finish of the second two coats in Absolute Matt harmonised with the dramatic saturated hot-blue colour, however every touch left a mark, which could not be wiped clean. After some weeks, my tolerance level of the lightly scuffed surface reached its threshold, so more tins of paint and paint rollers were purchased to attempt the task myself. Four additional coats in Intelligent Matt resulted in a richer hue, but I was unsuccessful in achieving a smooth finish with the roller. Begrudgingly, paintbrush to hand, the ninth and final coat was painted drying to a brushstroke finish, which left me satisfied much to my surprise. Alas, perfectionism is the bane of my life.

Paint Colour: Thai Sapphire by Little Greene Paint Co.

Paint Colour: Thai Sapphire by Little Greene Paint Co.

LEFT: Entrance Hallway 'Before' with view of the front door. RIGHT: Entrance Hallway 'In Progress' with view from the front door. Adnet Circulaire Mirror; Sideboard New Order by Hay; Walnut Doors by JBKind Doors.

LEFT: Entrance Hallway 'Before' with view of the front door. RIGHT: Entrance Hallway 'In Progress' with view from the front door. Adnet Circulaire Mirror; Sideboard New Order by Hay; Walnut Doors by JBKind Doors.

There's hardly a trace of old furnishings around our home. Of course, we didn't cross the pond eleven autumns ago with any at all. The early years could only afford me to gaze at unique pieces of fine craftsmanship in interior design magazines, whilst surrounded by self-assembled furniture purchased from a certain Swedish-founded retailer. My taste in design is simple and restrained, but fine simplicity comes at a rather dear price, to the dismay of my loving dear husband.

Minotti Andersen Line Sofa; Zimmer & Rohde Curtain Fabric; Foscarini Twiggy Floor Lamp; Saarinen Side Table; Wool Throw by Society Limonta; Embroidered Cushions by Charlene Mullen.

Minotti Andersen Line Sofa; Zimmer & Rohde Curtain Fabric; Foscarini Twiggy Floor Lamp; Saarinen Side Table; Wool Throw by Society Limonta; Embroidered Cushions by Charlene Mullen.

LEFT: Lounge Wall 'After'. RIGHT: Lounge Wall 'Before'.

LEFT: Lounge Wall 'After'. RIGHT: Lounge Wall 'Before'.

It is only in retrospection that I can truly appreciate the process that has procured our present. In recognising that hardship and trying times are integral to the work in progress, the climb is less arduous. I find myself taking greater care in my choices since I would rather live without, than settle for something that is not quite right, however my patience is tested every waiting period for items to be delivered. I suppose it is the additional cost of choosing pieces that are made-to-order.

Textured Wallpaper: Nouveau Cycle by Elitis.

Textured Wallpaper: Nouveau Cycle by Elitis.

Calalmo Desk by Gabriele Rosa for Zanotta; Paint Colour: Lamp Black by Little Greene Paint Co.

Calalmo Desk by Gabriele Rosa for Zanotta; Paint Colour: Lamp Black by Little Greene Paint Co.

Whilst I wait for the last order to arrive, which was placed in January, I carefully consider all of my options for lounge chairs and desk chairs: design, construction, comfort, fabrics, leather; and even a new desk to replace the first piece of furniture from my furniture-making days. It is the most exciting part of the process. And even more fun is, marrying treasures from our past with all of the present - creating a home that is uniquely our own.

Paint Colour: Jack Black by Little Greene Paint Co.

Paint Colour: Jack Black by Little Greene Paint Co.

Paint Colour: Clocktower by Marston & Langinger.

Paint Colour: Clocktower by Marston & Langinger.

Paint Colour: Jack Black by Little Greene Paint Co.

Paint Colour: Jack Black by Little Greene Paint Co.

A new-build seemed like the better choice for one who cringes at the mere thought of another human being's germs on door handles. The notion of a fixer-upper was overwhelming and paralysing. However, an obsession in interior decorating to my exact standard and taste leaves all options indiscernible. A new wall was demolished; new carpeting, new doors and new plantings were all removed and replaced. Although the kitchen-diner is functional, I have a great desire for one bespoke to my wishes. And the list continues: floor and wall tiles, sinks and taps, paving slabs, &c. The idea to gut the three-level stairwell and install one that would allow daylight from the skylight to illuminate straight through to the ground floor is one I should think to leave by the wayside. The dark-stained oak planks, which were commissioned and fitted even before we closed on the house, are enough - for now. A work in progress, it shall continue to be, is our home sweet home.

Dark-Stained Oak Flooring throughout the house: Winchester Hardwood Flooring.

Dark-Stained Oak Flooring throughout the house: Winchester Hardwood Flooring.

On Reading And Writing


I awake with eyes still closed and my mind already running lists of what has been done, what must be done today, and what can wait until tomorrow or next week. I fight the noise by keeping my eyes shut, however that ineffectually increases the volume of my mind's clatter.

A mind too active is no mind at all, writes Julia Cameron in her book titled, 'The Artist's Way'. The primary tool in recovering one's creative self is what she terms morning pages, which I adopted as my daily ramblings. Whilst these wordy junkets are helping to unravel the jumbled mass of incoherent thoughts swimming in my mind, which then allow me to continue my day less dishevelled, reading is creating order and flow.

Turning to classic period novels - some, I am rereading and many more, for the first time - has initiated a momentum for daily reading. They transport me to a different time and place, which I am very much drawn to and where it seems I would feel right at home.

Travelling between centuries from one book to the other, as I am also gripped by Robert Macfarlane's vivid writings of his voyages, there are not enough hours in the day to read as much as I wish, or enough space in my handbag for both 'Vanity Fair' and my kindle. I cannot read quickly enough to satisfy my urgent curiosity to learn what will become of W.M. Thackeray's Miss Rebecca Sharp and Miss Amelia Sedley. My eagerness and impatience want to open the next chosen classic, 'Madame Bovary' - a French period novel, except for the constraint of twenty-four hours hardly balanced between the To Do's and To See's; the pleasure of reading and this therapeutic arduous exercise of writing.

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Return From A Hiatus


Verbier, Switzerland, February 2015

I am currently camped out in our guest bedroom whilst ours is taken over by the decorator who is tasked with painting walls of multiple angles and distorted lines. It's back to our regular programming of home decorating. We moved into our newly built house about sixteen months ago and it has been seventeen months of unremitting alterations with tradesmen about. One glaring revelation has been that there can be as much work to be done in a brand-new monotonous townhouse as in a dark characterful Victorian terrace.

All this activity enshrouds my current frame of mind. Returning to everyday mundane concerns was a daunting thought as our ski holiday neared its end. Only a week after returning home is my mood of melancholy and listlessness beginning to evanesce. My spirit felt at its lowest ebb and I cannot seem to rationalise it - at least not now, perhaps I shall better understand in retrospection when I am enraptured once again.

Kasbah Tamadot, Morocco, June 2013